12 Things I Need to Do Before NaNoWriMo Starts!

children sitting on brown chairs inside the classroom
Photo by Arthur Krijgsman on Pexels.com

I wrote this article a few years back, but it bears repeating. (This year I will not be taking a class through NaNoWriMo.)

I’m here to share how I prepare my students for NaNoWriMo. You will find your own ways for future years, tweaking your approach depending on your schedule and the students’ personalities.

Smaller Groups

This year I have quite a few students, so I am going to try to approach them in smaller groups. In the beginning, there are many, many questions. I want to help them all, so smaller groups of 5-8 would be better than the whole group of 30+, especially considering a wide age range.

Small Bits of Time

That means I will come during different times of the day: recess, lunch, study halls, library time, etc. I will meet with them for about 15 minutes max for prep work. I don’t want this to be overwhelming or feel like schoolwork.

12 Things I Need To Do

I plan to accomplish these things before October 31:

  1. I have already talked to the teachers. I make sure they know what NaNoWriMo is, how they can support it in class, and what I expect from them (to let me come in once in a while, but that’s about it.)
  2. Talk to the kids about the purpose and the fun of NaNoWriMo.
  3. Get students to sign up as “I’m interested, but not committing just yet.”
  4. Have other students share their experiences.
  5. Send a note home to the interested students’ parents, explaining what we’re doing and what they can expect.
  6. Print out workbooks from ywp.nanowrimo.org for each student who brings in a commitment form signed by the parents and a 3-ring binder.
  7. Find 3-ring binders for those few students who don’t quite have it together, but really want to do this.
  8. Meet with students about their internal editor (using the workbook.)
  9. Talk about character sketches (using the workbook.)
  10. Talk about plot (using the workbook.)
  11. Have a brainstorming/sharing meeting for those who have ideas and those who don’t.
  12. Get them to commit on October 31 and make sure they’re ready to start on their own, at home, on November 1.

Whew! That is a lot of stuff to do! I had better get going! If you’ve done NaNoWriMo with your class, what else would you add to that list? Email me and let me know!